Whatever happened to... Doug Henry?

Paralyzed motocross champ is back on two wheels

By Aaron Frank, Photography by HEALClothing.com

Multi-time AMA Supercross/Motocross Champion Doug Henry burst onto the scene in 1993, winning the 125cc East and National Championships for Team Honda. The New England native stepped up to 250s in '95 and immediately started winning races-until he overshot an 80-foot jump at Budds Creek and shattered his back. The heroic Henry not only recovered from that terrible injury-and two broken wrists suffered at the same track the following year-but returned to his winning ways. In '98, riding the then-new Yamaha YZ400F, he became the first rider to win an AMA supercross race and an AMA national motocross championship on a four-stroke.

Henry retired from off-road racing in '99 and took up supermoto in 2003, winning an ESPN X-Games Gold Medal in '05. But during an amateur supermoto event in Florida in '07, Henry crashed and was hit by another competitor, breaking his back again. This injury was more severe, however, and he remains paralyzed from the waist down.

Henry, of course, isn't one to take this latest injury sitting down. Unable to walk, he's nonetheless taken to two wheels again. With support from HEAL (Helping Extreme Athletes Live), Henry reconfigured his Yamaha WR450 for feet-free operation with bar-mounted paddle shifters, a Rekluse automatic clutch and a rear brake lever relocated to where the clutch lever once resided. A custom roll cage surrounds him in the event of a crash. He's reportedly already showing A-class speed, clearing triple-jumps that challenge even able-bodied riders.

Henry's return to riding is testament to the dogged determination that made him one of the toughest motorcycle racers ever. He still hasn't given up hope of recovery, making him a true inspiration not just to those who have suffered similar injuries, but to any rider.

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